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FAQs

Can Solar Hot Water Heaters Get as Hot as Traditional Water Heaters?

Water temperature is one of the greatest concerns of those hesitant to switch to a solar water heater, but these systems are designed to heat water to the same temperature as traditional hot water heaters. Your electric or gas water heater is probably set to 120 or 130 degrees, and your new solar water heater will be able to achieve and maintain these temperatures as well.

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Can Anyone Use a Solar Water Heater?

Solar water heaters are powered by the sun, so your property needs to receive direct sunlight. Most systems are mounted to the roof on the south side of your property, so direct sunlight should be available all year in that location. There are also ground-mounted systems available for homes where the roof doesn’t get direct sunlight.

If your home does not receive enough sunlight year-round or you are located on a property that has little sun exposure, you may not get as great of a benefit from a solar water heater as you would like.

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What Happens if the Sun Isn't Out?

Solar water heating systems need roughly 6 hours of sun exposure to work effectively depending on the system. But they are installed as a complement to your existing water heating system. If they don’t get enough direct sunlight, your traditional water heating system will pick up the slack.

However, cloudy days still generally provide enough solar power to heat your water, and usually there’s still enough sun during the winter months as well. A properly installed solar water heating system should receive enough sun year-round, allowing you to use hot water as you please without running up huge energy bills.

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How Quickly Will My System Pay for Itself?

Solar hot water heaters save homeowners a lot of money in a relatively short period of time. Yet the value is based on the initial investment, usage rates by those on the property, and the efficiency of the system. It is estimated that most property owners will recover their initial investment in 5 to 10 years.

There are also indirect financial benefits. Solar hot water heaters reduce the strain on your electric water heater, increasing its lifespan and reducing costs associated with maintenance and replacement.

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Will I Have to Change My Hot Water Usage?

Because these solar water heaters are installed with traditional systems remaining as backups, you don’t necessarily have to change your routine. Anytime the solar system isn’t able to produce enough hot water, the backup electric heating system will kick in to supplement it.

If you want to save as much as you can in energy costs, you should alter your routine enough to match peak sunlight hours (roughly 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., depending on the time of year). You will also use less energy if you spread tasks like laundry and dishes out over multiple days rather than completing them all in a single day. Changing isn’t necessary, but it is yet another way to maximize savings.

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What is a geothermal heat pump?

A geothermal heat pump or ground source heat pump (GSHP) is a central heating and cooling system that pumps heat to or from the ground. It uses the earth as a heat source (in the winter) or a heat sink (in the summer). This design takes advantage of the moderate temperatures in the ground to boost efficiency and reduce the operational costs of heating and cooling systems, and may be combined with solar heating to form a geosolar system with even greater efficiency. Geothermal heat pumps are also known by a variety of other names, including geoexchange, earth-coupled, earth energy or water-source heat pumps.

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How does a geothermal heat pump work?

A geothermal heat pump doesn't create heat by burning fuel, like a furnace does. Instead, in winter it collects the Earth's natural heat through a series of pipes, called a loop, installed below the surface of the ground or submersed in a pond or lake. Fluid circulates through the loop and carries the heat to the house. There, an electrically driven compressor and a heat exchanger concentrate the Earth's energy and release it inside the home at a higher temperature. Ductwork distributes the heat to different rooms.
In summer, the process is reversed. The underground loop draws excess heat from the house and allows it to be absorbed by the Earth. The system cools your home in the same way that a refrigerator keeps your food cool - by drawing heat from the interior, not by blowing in cold air.
The geothermal loop that is buried underground is typically made of high-density polyethylene, a tough plastic that is extraordinarily durable but which allows heat to pass through efficiently. When installers connect sections of pipe, they heat fuse the joints, making the connections stronger than the pipe itself. The fluid in the loop is water or an environmentally safe antifreeze solution that circulates through the pipes in a closed system.

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Can I have a geothermal heat pump system installed in my home?

In most cases – yes. If your home is a single detached dwelling, it is likely the installation of a geothermal heat pump would be feasible and beneficial. Contact Carney today for a free evaluation.

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Can I replace my existing conventional heating and air conditioning system with a geothermal heat pump system?

Again, in most cases – yes. A geothermal system can be installed utilizing your existing duct system. Contact Carney today for a free evaluation.

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Does a geothermal heat pump system have an outdoor unit?

No. Geothermal heat pumps do not utilize an outdoor unit to heat and cool your home, instead, they use the renewable energy of the earth to provide warm and cool air.

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Does a geothermal heat pump system provide hot water?

Yes. When in operation, a geothermal heat pump can be configured to provide hot water for domestic uses (showers, laundry, dish washing, etc.). In heating mode, a geothermal system will provide hot water in a more energy efficient manner than a traditional hot water heater. In cooling mode, the byproduct of the geothermal heat pump’s operation is heat – therefore it provides hot water for free! When the geothermal system is not in operation, your hot water is heated with a traditional water heater. Installing an additional water heater is optional for a homeowner, but not necessary in most cases.

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If a geothermal heat pump can provide hot water, can it heat my pool or spa?

Yes. A geothermal heat pump system can be configured to heat your pool or spa in a manner that will reduce your current costs to heat either or both of them.

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How energy efficient is a ground-source system?

A geothermal heat pump system is more than three times as efficient as the most economical fossil-fuel furnace. Instead of burning a combustible fuel to create heat, a ground-source system moves the earth’s energy. By moving heat, the ground-source system provides three to four units of energy for every one unit used to power the system's compressor, fan and water pump.
For more information on energy efficiency of geothermal heat pump systems, click here to view our Geothermal Cost Benefits page our click here to view our Geothermal Environmental Benefits page.

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What is a “loop”?

A “loop” is an industry term for the underground piping that is connected to a geothermal heat pump to move the free and renewable energy from the earth to the indoor unit that circulates warm and cool air in your home.
There are several types of loop systems that are utilized in the United States. The most common type of loop system installed today is a “closed loop”.
Closed loop systems are environmentally benign. They are sealed so that no fluid is exchanged with the environment. The fluid often includes an antifreeze solution to protect the heat pump equipment. The connection process heats the pieces of tubing and fuses them together - effectively becoming one continuous pipe. The high density polyethylene piping used in geothermal heat pump systems is the same or higher grade of pipe used in cross country natural gas piping and closed loop systems installed by Carney come with a 55 year warranty (yes, that’s fifty five years)!

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Do I need a separate loop for heating and air conditioning?

No. Your geothermal heat pump utilizes the same loop to absorb and exchange the earth’s free energy in both heating and cooling mode.

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What does a loop look like?

A loop is simply a series of thermally fused black high density plastic tubing. If you want to see what it looks like, make sure you get a look when it’s being installed. Once the loop has been installed, it is buried and out of sight forever!

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Is there a comfort difference with geothermal heat pump systems compared to conventional heating and air conditioning systems?

Yes. 97% of homeowners who replace their conventional heating and air conditioning system with a geothermal system report increased levels of comfort in their home.

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Is a geothermal heat pump system noisy when compared to a conventional heating and cooling system?

No. First, geothermal heat pump systems do not utilize an outdoor unit, so any noise outside is completely eliminated. The indoor air handling unit will produce as much – or less noise than your current indoor unit. Many homeowners who convert to geothermal systems from oil are very pleasantly surprised by the quiet operation compared to their old system.

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Is geothermal heat pump technology a new, risky “fad” type of technology?

No. Geothermal heat pumps have been installed in the United States since the 1940’s. Over 1 million geothermal heat pumps are in operation in homes, business, schools and government buildings across the United States. Approximately 50,000 geothermal heat pump systems are installed in the United States every year – most of them replacing inefficient, fossil fuel burning, environmentally harmful heating and air conditioning systems.

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Do geothermal heat pump systems require extensive maintenance?

No. In fact, they require less maintenance than conventional heating and cooling systems. Carney recommends 1 annual maintenance visit per year for a geothermal system as opposed to 2 separate visits for conventional systems. It is therefore less expensive to maintain a geothermal heat pump system when compared to a conventional system.

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I want to install a geothermal heat pump system but I don’t think I can afford one.

Due to the initial investment, this can be a common concern among homeowners. Many homeowners alleviate this initial burden by utilizing financing that can be secured individually or through third party lenders recommended by Carney. In many cases, homeowners employ intermediate term loans that are flexible and allow for low monthly payments that are actually less than the monthly utility savings that they realize through the geothermal system – therefore making the installation essentially “free”!
Contact Carney to schedule a free survey to provide an estimate of approximate savings and costs to see if a geothermal system makes sense for your home.

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I am environmentally conscious. Is a geothermal heating and cooling system “green”?

Absolutely. In fact, it’s the “greenest” of all heating and air conditioning systems available today. In addition, geothermal systems can be combined with solar and wind power generating systems to further reduce your carbon footprint.

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Do geothermal heat pump systems work well in our climate?

Yes. Due to their durability, flexibility, efficiency and ability to provide extremely comfortable home environments in both mild and harsh weather conditions (which we experience in Bucks and Montgomery Counties), geothermal heat pump systems are ideal for our climate.

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What is that white substance that builds up on my shower head and what can I do about it?

The white substance is actually mineral deposits. To remove the mineral deposits from the shower head, pour a cup of vinegar into a plastic bag and then place the bag over the shower head fixture and leave it in place overnight. The next day, remove the bag and use an old toothbrush to scrub off the deposits.

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My toilet fills up every 10 minutes. What is the problem?

This usually indicates that the flush valve in your toilet tank is not seating correctly and water is leaking from the tank into the bowl. This could be the result of the lift chain being tangled, faulty flapper or a problem with the flush valve itself.

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I am getting no hot water from my electric water heater.

The high temperature cutoff may have been tripped, and may need to be reset. Otherwise it’s generally a faulty heating element or thermostat.

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I am not getting enough hot water from my electric water heater.

The temperature control may be set too low. Otherwise it’s generally a faulty heating element or thermostat.

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I am getting no hot water from my gas water heater.

The pilot light may be out, or you may have a faulty thermocouple or gas valve.

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I have poor water pressure at my kitchen sink faucet.

Try removing the faucet aerator at the end of the spout and cleaning the screen of any dirt and debris. The faucet aerator is designed to diffuse the water to prevent splashing, but it can become clogged over time.

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Why does my water smell like rotten eggs?

It could be the anode rod in your water heater. Which leads to the question...What is an anode rod? On the top of your water heater you will find a plug fitting screwed into the tank. Suspended from that fitting is a solid metal rod of magnesium, aluminum or zinc. The sole purpose of these rods is to slowly corrode away so the tank will not. Also referred to as sacrificial anodes, the rods sacrifice themselves to protect the steel tank from rusting. When the anode is no longer able to give sufficient protection, the steel tank will begin to rust. Anode rods can be changed to aluminum in cases where certain chemicals in your water supply cause undesirable odors. Depending on your water conditions, you should have your rods checked every 2 to 4 years to insure tank's longevity and your peace of mind.

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What causes rattling pipes?

This problem is usually caused by the water lines not being properly secured. It can be easily fixed but only if your water lines are easily accessible. It means that either in one or many places your water lines come into contact with the wood of your floor joists. All you need to do is get copper or plastic pipe hangers that will secure your water lines to your wooden joists.

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What is the Carney Care Club?

The Carney Care Club is our comprehensive plumbing maintenance agreement. Our plan offers complete protection with a one-time complete home inspection of your home with half off on all repairs at this time, 10-15% off all service calls, preferred scheduling, guaranteed pricing, specials, savings and more! The CCC provides complete security for the plumbing system within your home.

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Why do I need the protection of a plumbing preventative maintenance agreement?

A plumbing maintenance agreement gives you the peace of mind that your plumbing system is operating both reliably and efficiently. Our comprehensive inspection identifies potential problems before they become inconvenient and costly emergencies. We will save you money by locating and repairing any leaks within your plumbing system. The Carney Care Club offers half off on all repairs at the time of your maintenance inspection!

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How long does it take to remodel a bathroom?

At the risk of sounding elusive, we really must say that "it depends". The scope of the bathroom remodeling dictates how long the project will take. For example, if you are relocating your fixtures, reconfiguring and retiling the room, the actual construction will obviously take a little bit longer.

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At what temperature should the tankless water heater set at?

Our trained, professional installers will discuss this with you based on your specific wants or needs.

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Will tankless water heaters give me instant hot water results?

Tankless water heaters will supply 'endless' hot water and can offer 'instant' hot water at the same time if used with a recirculation system.

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Where should I have the tankless water heater installed?

Our tankless water heaters are so small that you can have them installed just about anywhere in your home. A conventional tank-type water heater is about five-feet tall, while a tankless water heater is less than a third of that.

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Should I install the tankless water heater myself?

No! Improper installation will void your warranty and could have a potentially harmful effect on you and your family.

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Am I eligible for a tax credit with a tankless water heater?

Yes! Perhaps the greatest benefit of our tankless water heaters is that The Federal Government is issuing tax credits of 30% (up to $1500) to homeowners that replace their tank-type water heaters. Please note: This is not a deduction, but rather full dollar-for-dollar credits (the $1500 tax credit is like earning $6000 of income with no taxes if you are in the 25% tax bracket). In addition, homeowners can potentially receive up to $300 in PECO and/or manufacturer rebates through the end of the year when they replace their old, inefficient tank style water heaters.

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What do I need to do to prepare for my bathroom renovation?

You can start by getting a good idea for the type of look and style you want. Of course this is not necessary, but it does help if you do. If you don’t know yet, look at some magazines, websites or watch some home remodeling shows to get some design ideas. Then, contact us for a free bathroom design consultation. You will be instructed by one of remodeling consultants as to what exact steps you need to take, but generally speaking, before construction begins, you’ll want to clear out the area being worked on of all your personal belongings that can be removed.

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What type of return on investment can I expect from remodeling my bathroom if I sell my home?

Bathrooms typically get the best return on investment in a remodeled home. Realtor Magazine reported that for the year 2005, the national average return on investment for bathroom remodeling was between 93.2% and 102.2% depending upon if the budget is upscale or moderate.

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Will I have an operational bathroom during my renovation?

While your bathroom may not be completely operational during the renovation, we will never leave you without at least one functional toilet in your home. That is a guarantee. If necessary, we will disconnect and re-install your toilet every day until the project is complete. Our goal is get your bathroom renovation done quickly and with very little hassle.

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What is a sewer clean out?

A main line sewer clean out is one or two pipes that normally stick up out of the ground, usually in the front or back yard of the home, and typically in the flower beds around the home or within 2 to 4 feet of the edge of the foundation. This clean out is one or two pipes that tee directly into the main sewer line, its purpose is to allow for something, normally a sewer machine cable to be inserted into the sewer line to unstop a clogged sewer as necessary. We use these clean outs in order to insert a rubber inflatable test ball into the sewer line, or a sewer camera for testing purposes.

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What is the best solution for a clogged bathtub or sink drain?

This is a very common problem and there is no definitive answer as each drain could be clogged for a different reason. The best thing to do is to make sure that the drain is not clogged with hair or soap chips. You can do this by visually inspecting the bathtub or sink drain. The best way to clean hair from a bathtub drain is to remove the drain grate and take a coat hanger and put a little hook on the end and scoop out the hair. You could also use a pair of needle nose pliers as well. The easiest way to clean hair from a lavatory sink drain is to remove the pop-up drain assembly altogether and use the same technique as mentioned above.

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What is the proper way to plunge a bathtub drain?

A bathtub drain is difficult to clear if you have a trip lever because as you plunge the water could push up the trip lever riser. So the best way to use a plunger in a bathtub is to push the plunger in fast and forceful to try to get as much pressure as possible into the p-trap. Plunging a bathtub is not going to work for every clogged drain, and most times you will need something stronger like a snake.

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I have a clogged toilet, what should I do?

The household plunger is frequently the first defense mechanism used to unclog a toilet. Before using a plunger you will want to turn off the toilet’s water shut-off valve. Turning off the emergency shut-off valve will prevent accidental flushes, which can lead to an overflow. Once you have the water turned off, you are ready to unclog the clogged toilet. The rubber end of the plunger should be soft, flexible and have no cracks. To unclog, place the rubber end of the plunger over the clog and push down with a fair amount of pressure. The clog should eventually break, allowing the water to drain.

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I am plagued with slow draining pipes and repetitive clogs, what can I do?

A video camera pipe inspection allows for a real-time visual inspection of underground sewer lines and other piping in order to determine the condition inside the pipe. This state-of-the art technology uses a flexible fiber optic cable with a high-resolution video camera on the tip that transmits images back to the camera operator who can make an informed diagnosis of any problems found. As the cable is inserted through the pipe, equipped with powerful lights it is able to record its findings which can be saved to CD for a permanent record. Our professionally trained technicians are able to pinpoint problems with broken, cracked or collapsed drains that require repair or replacement.

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What is a water well?

A well is an artificial opening in the ground made for the purposes of extracting and using ground water. Water wells are usually drilled into either unconsolidated sediments or bedrock.

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I have no water, what should I do?

First, check the power source (fuse box/circuit breaker box) to see if a fuse is blown or a breaker is tripped. If it is, simply replace the fuse or reset the breaker.

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Why should I test my well water?

Safe, clean water is one of the most important substances in our lives – for drinking, cooking bathing and cleaning. It’s one of the simplest things you can do to take care of the health and well-being of your family. Professional testing will reveal levels of unwanted minerals, hardness and PH imbalance, as well as other contaminants. You can’t see these things with the human eye. Testing is the only way you’ll know for sure. Our expert, highly trained water treatment consultants can provide proper testing and proven solutions to any water quality problems you might have. We offer FREE water testing!

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What is that steel pipe that sticks out of the ground?

All wells require a casing to seal off possible contaminants at or near the ground surface. This is a board of health requirement so that ground water runoff does not enter the well.

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What is the purpose of a well storage tank?

Well pumps are not designed to run continuously, and they don’t operate each time you use a faucet or flush a toilet. That is where your well storage tank comes into play. In order to allow consistent water pressure at the plumbing fixtures within your home and to relieve the unnecessary stress of the well pump turning on and off, the water is first moved to a well holding tank. Inside a well storage tank is an air bladder that becomes compressed as the water is pumped into it. The pressure in the tank is what moves the water through the household plumbing system. When the pressure reaches a preset level, which can be anywhere from 40 to 60 psi, a switch stops the pump. As water is used in the home, pressure within the tank begins to drop until the pressure switch turns the pump on and the cycle is repeated.

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What is hard water?

Hard water is the most common problem found in the average home. Hard water is water that contains dissolved hardness minerals above 1 GPG. Calcium, manganese and magnesium are the most common hardness minerals.

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What is hard water?

Hard water is the most common problem found in the average home. Hard water is water that contains dissolved hardness minerals above 1 GPG. Calcium, manganese and magnesium are the most common hardness minerals.

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Why should hard water concern me?

For many uses, it would not matter. For instance, to put out fires, water your lawn or wash mud off the streets, water would have to be pretty hard to cause a problem. However, for bathing, washing dishes and clothes, shaving, washing your car and many other uses of water, hard water is not as efficient or convenient as 'soft water'. For instance:


  • You will only use half as much soap when cleaning with soft water.

  • Hard water and soap combine to form ‘soap scum’ that can’t be rinsed off, forming a ‘bathtub ring’ on all surfaces and dries leaving unsightly spots on your dishes.

  • Soap scum remains on your skin even after rinsing, clogging the pores of your skin and coating every hair on your body. This crud can serve as a home for bacteria, causing diaper rash, minor skin irritation and skin that continually itches.

  • When hard water is heated, the hardness minerals are re-crystallized to form hardness scale. This scale can clog your pipes and water heater, causing premature failure, and repair or replacement.

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I have a water conditioner and now my water feels "slimy"?

When the hardness minerals are removed from your water, soap no longer forms soap crud, or ‘bathtub ring’ on your skin, clogging your pores, clinging to every strand of hair. You are now truly clean. That slick “slimy” feeling is your natural body oil without the soap scum. The old saying that you get “squeaky clean” is a myth; the feeling is caused by the soap scum on your skin. Furthermore, that soap scum provides an excellent place for bacteria to hide and grow, causing numerous skin ailments.

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Can I get properly treated water with just any softener, or do I need a special system?

Water quality can vary from town to town – even from well to well in the same neighborhood. That’s why we highly recommend testing your water before purchasing any water treatment system. That is also why we carry a broad line of water conditioning systems and filters. Each is designed to effectively treat different water problems. Our wide choice of proven systems makes it easy to match the right system to your specific water quality needs.

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Can bacteria really be growing in my present household water system?

Yes. Iron and sulfur bacteria can enter your household plumbing from a well. Once introduced, this bacteria usually remains and multiplies within your plumbing system. The result can be unwanted odors, along with red, slimy stains on plumbing fixtures.

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Is there anything I can do to protect my family from arsenic and lead in ground water?

Regional testing continues to reveal ground water contaminants of all kinds. Even municipal water supplies are not immune to treatment failures or accidental contamination. Your best safeguard against contaminants is a point-of-use water treatment system. Not all systems, however, remove the same contaminants.

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What does HVAC stand for?

Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning.

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Should I close the registers and doors to areas of the home that I do not use on a regular basis?

No. Every system is designed to heat and cool a certain number of square feet. By closing registers and doors in certain rooms, you disrupt and decrease the system’s airflow and efficiency. Your system will have to work harder to heat or cool less space, making it stop and start more and become less efficient.

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How close to the outdoor unit should I plant shrubs or flowers?

Manufacturers generally agree that plants should not be closer than 18 inches. Air conditioners and heat pumps need intake and exhaust air to operate efficiently. If air cannot circulate, the unit could build up heat and require service.

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At what temperature should I set my thermostat?

Temperature settings depend on the time of year and your personal preferences. In the summer 74° to 76° is generally the setting range that most people prefer. Remember, when leaving your house, try to avoid drastic temperature changes. Do not set your temperature back more than 5°; this will cause your unit to work harder to achieve the desired temperature setting.

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What are the advantages of a programmable thermostat?

Because they are electronic, programmable thermostats are more accurate and efficient than thermostats that contain mercury. Plus, they allow you to automatically control the temperature in your home at different times of day without ever touching your thermostat.

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What does S.E.E.R. mean?

S.E.E.R. is an acronym for Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio and is the most commonly used measurement of an air conditioning or heat pump system’s energy efficiency when evaluating cooling performance. In essence, a S.E.E.R. rating is similar to a miles per gallon (MPG) rating for an automobile. As in MPG’s, the higher rating, the more efficient the cooling system is – or the less energy it consumes while in use. Effective January of 2006, the minimum S.E.E.R. for all residential central air conditioning systems is 13 S.E.E.R.

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How often should I change the filter in my heater?

In general, Carney PHC recommends that you replace your disposable filters at once a month. If you have washable filters, they should be cleaned once a month. However, some homes may require more frequent filter changes due to conditions within the home.

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Why do I need to change my filter regularly?

Regular filter replacement helps your heating and cooling system operate at peak levels and improves indoor air quality. It is important to change filters regularly to ensure proper air flow and to keep your home free from dust, allergens and germs.

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Where is my filter located?

Your air filter should be located in either the blower compartment of the furnace, in an attached filter case, or in a return air grille in a wall or ceiling of your home. If you cannot find the air filter, your Carney PHC technician will be happy to show you where it is located and how to change it during your next maintenance visit.

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Is the filter used during air conditioning season the same one that is used during heating season?

In most cases, yes. If you have one system that provides both heating and air conditioning, then more than likely they share the same filter.

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Where can I purchase filters?

If you are unable to find the appropriate-size air filter at your local hardware outlet, contact Carney PHC for assistance.

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I thought pollution was outside. Why should I be worried about my air indoors?

We spend 90% of our time every day indoors. Plus, today's efficient, airtight homes are excellent at conserving energy, but that also makes them better at trapping potentially irritating particles inside the home. With the rising number of people who suffer from allergies and asthma, indoor air quality has become more and more important to our general health and well-being. The Environmental Protection Agency has stated that indoor air can be 4 to 5 times more harmful than outdoor air.

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I keep my home very clean. Could the air in my home still not be clean?

Yes. Consider that the average home generates 40 pounds of dust per year for every 1,500 square feet of space. While regular home cleaning is an excellent measure to reduce exposure to irritants and pollutants, it's simply impossible to remove enough of the material by hand to make your home's air as comfortable as it can be. In addition, certain irritants and sources of indoor air pollution cannot be cleaned by hand.

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What can be done to help make my home's air cleaner?

You might want to consider having your ducts cleaned. Keep your filters clean and change them regularly. Install a High Efficiency air filtration system that works in conjunction with your HVAC system. For more on Indoor Air Quality Solutions, please click here to visit our Indoor Air Quality page.

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How does a whole-home air cleaner work as part of my system?

Whole Home Air Cleaners are designed to perfectly fit as a component of your total home comfort system. Unlike many air cleaners that are situated in a single room of the house, Whole Home Air Cleaners are installed and operated through the same duct work that your furnace or air conditioner might use. It operates out of sight of most living spaces to provide up to 99.98% cleaner air throughout your entire home.

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What is the ideal indoor humidity level?

The American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) recommends a household humidity level between 30 and 60 percent.

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How do I know whether my heating and cooling equipment needs replacement or just repair?

This is a difficult question to provide a “blanket” answer for. As an analogy, it is a similar process of considerations that a car owner must consider when deciding whether to replace a vehicle or not.


  • The age of the current system. Our philosophy is that if the current heating system is 15 years old or older, replacement should be seriously considered.
  • What is the history of the air conditioning system? Has it required frequent repairs throughout its lifespan? Is it noisy? Does it show signs of excessive wear (rust)? Has it been well maintained by an HVAC company on an annual basis?
  • Are there any current rebates or tax credits available towards the purchase of a new high efficiency air conditioning system that will help offset the initial investment?
  • Does the current system provide the level of comfort that you want? There is a growing difference between “builder grade” and consumer choice in what a system can offer in terms of comfort and convenience.
  • How much will the repairs cost…and how many more repairs will you need in the future? Is keeping an older system operational worth the time, the money and the inconvenience? Often, replacing an old air conditioning will prove to be the less expensive option than paying for repeated repairs.

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It’s been a long time since I shopped for a new air conditioning system – or – I’ve never purchased a new air conditioning system before. What is available to me as a consumer?

If you’re deciding on a new system and have not kept up with advances in the industry, you will be amazed at the number of options that you have. Today’s comfort systems offer a surprising number of options and combinations – from individual heaters and air conditioners to integrated or “hybrid” systems. Systems can vary widely in terms of energy efficiency. The ability of systems to monitor conditions and adjust automatically has increased dramatically. And a wider variety of indoor air quality add-ons are available than ever before.

These changes make the replacement decision even more complex than ever, so you can see how important it is to find a HVAC company that will work with you to custom design a system for your home and budget. At Carney, our goal is to be a company that will partner with you to not only install a system that is appropriate for your situation, but then help you keep the system operating at peak performance.

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Are some air conditioning manufacturers or brands better than others?

Yes, we believe so. That’s why we only recommend the most reliable air conditioning systems on the market. However, the manufacturer or brand is only one part of a high performance and reliable A/C system – the air conditioning system design and the quality workmanship that are utilized are crucial to having a long lasting, reliable and trouble free A/C system that reduces your energy bills.

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What should I look for when choosing a new air conditioner or heat pump?

Here are some general rules of thumb when you are ready to replace your existing equipment:



  • Choose a manufacturer that has a good reputation for quality and durability.

  • Choose a model with a high energy efficiency rating to bring you better comfort and lower your seasonal energy bill.

  • Be sure that the system you have chosen has been properly sized for the unique needs of your home.

  • Finally, choose a reliable company with excellent customer satisfaction and a track record of service after the sale. Talk to your friends and neighbors.

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How much does a new A/C system cost?

Due to the many different makes, models and customer needs, as well as installation variables within the home, price is an issue that can only be solved by doing a thorough evaluation of your home and existing equipment. At Carney, there is no charge for an in-house replacement proposal.

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What do I do if I can’t afford a new HVAC system?

Carney offers several financing options. Your Carney Comfort Specialist can recommend a financing plan that best suits your needs.

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If I purchase a new heating and air conditioning system, will I be eligible for the Federal Tax Credit?

Carney PHC installs heating and air conditioning systems that qualify for the Federal Tax Credit every day. Once the installation is complete, homeowners are provided with all certifications and documents showing proof of installation of a qualifying system. For clarification, the Federal Tax Credit for high efficiency central heating and air conditioning systems is 30% of the installed cost, with a maximum credit of $1,500. This is not a tax deduction – but rather a full, dollar for dollar credit.


Your individual eligibility can only be determined by your tax preparer – consult your tax preparer before making any final decisions on heating or air conditioning replacement if you plan to take advantage of the tax credit.

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If I am replacing my air conditioner, why would I replace my current heater with a smaller or larger one?

You may or may not replace your current A/C system with a larger or smaller one. The size or capacity of your new air conditioner will be determined and recommended by your Carney Comfort Specialist. The only accurate way to determine the proper sized air conditioning system for your home is to perform a load calculation to determine the cooling needs for your home on the hottest days of the year. It is common to find existing air conditioning systems that are oversized for the home. This results in decreased comfort, increased humidity levels in the summer, increased energy usage, increased equipment failure and shortened life span of the heater.

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Should I purchase an extended warranty with my new air conditioning system?

This is up to the individual consumer, but we highly recommend that homeowners at purchase an extended warranty coverage plan. Why? Most manufacturers are now offering 10 year parts warranties on heating and air conditioning systems. What is not covered is the labor charges to replace the warranty parts. For example, if a compressor on a system purchased in 2010 was in need of replacement in 2019, the compressor would be covered under warranty. However, the labor to replace the compressor would not be covered. In this example, the extended warranty purchased in 2010 would have cost less than the labor to replace the compressor in 2019. Your Carney Comfort Advisor can discuss further benefits of an extended warranty plan with you.

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My air conditioner is making noises that I never heard before.

Check the air filter to make sure it is clean. If needed, clean or replace it.
Check to make sure that the area around the indoor unit (your air handler or furnace) is free from debris and clutter.
Check the service records for the air conditioner. If a precision tune-up has not been performed on the A/C system within the last year, call Carney for a precision tune-up on your heater.

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I came home from work, turned my air conditioner on and my house is still hot.

In cases of extreme heat and humidity, it will take time for an air conditioning to lower the temperature inside the home. Properly sized air conditioning systems are designed to maintain temperature during the hottest days of the year, actually lowering the temperature can take time if the system has been off for an extended duration.
We recommend using a programmable thermostat to raise the setting a few degrees during the day when no one is home and then having it set to the appropriate level when you get home.
Also, check the filter. Air conditioning systems are far more sensitive to dirty filters than heating systems are.

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My second floor is always hotter than my first floor during the summer.

This is a very common complaint of homeowners.
The first recommendation is to check all vents to make sure they are not covered by furniture or other items.
If all vents are clear of obstruction, make sure all blinds and window treatments are kept closed during the day to reduce the effects of the sun heating the space.
If the problem persists, this could be a result of an inadequate duct system and/or an improperly sized air conditioning system.
Fortunately, Carney PHC offers zoning solutions that can allow for different areas of the home to be cooled independently of others.

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I see ice forming around the indoor or outdoor part of my air conditioning system.

Turn the system off at the thermostat. This is can be indicative of a problem.
Call Carney PHC to have a technician inspect the system to determine the cause of the problem.

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Should I cover my air conditioner in the winter time when I’m not using it to protect it from the elements?

No. Air conditioners are designed to withstand northern winters. Any snow or ice that has accumulated on an un-used air conditioner during the winter time will harmlessly melt away long before the cooling system will be needed for operation.
If an un-related circumstance is causing excessive ice build-up on your air conditioner, (for example, a clogged roof gutter spilling water), the extenuating circumstance should be addressed.

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How often should I have my air conditioner serviced by an HVAC company?

Manufacturer’s recommend that the heating and air conditioning system in a central heating and cooling system are each serviced once a year. If your air conditioning system has not had a precision tune up, call Carney today.

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Why are precision tune-ups important?

In one year in Bucks and Montgomery Counties in Pennsylvania, your heating and cooling units can run for as many 2,000 hours. When you neglect them, you pay a hefty price in wasted fuel, shortened equipment life and inconvenient and expensive breakdowns. Having your equipment regularly tuned-up, results in fewer service problems, lower energy bills, a safer system and warranties that are kept valid.

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What does a Carney Maintenance Agreement provide?

Carney Maintenance Agreements provide annual or semi-annual precision tune ups, priority “front of the line” service, 10% discounts on all repairs, access to 24/7 repair services, special offers on Indoor Air Quality products and services, 10% discounts on all plumbing repairs, extended repair warranties and much more.

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What is “front of the line” service that Carney Maintenance Agreement customers receive?

It’s simple really. In extreme weather, we are overwhelmed with “no heat” and “no air conditioning” calls. Many homeowners need our services. If you are a Carney Maintenance Agreement customer and you call with a “no heat” or “no air conditioning” emergency, you get bumped to the front of the line for service. It’s like walking into a crowded restaurant with a filled seating area, requesting the next open table – and getting it!

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What does HVAC stand for?

Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning.

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Should I close the registers and doors to areas of the home that I do not use on a regular basis?

No. Every system is designed to heat and cool a certain number of square feet. By closing registers and doors in certain rooms, you disrupt and decrease the system’s airflow and efficiency. Your system will have to work harder to heat or cool less space, making it stop and start more and become less efficient.

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How close to the outdoor unit should I plant shrubs or flowers?

Manufacturers generally agree that plants should not be closer than 18 inches. Air conditioners and heat pumps need intake and exhaust air to operate efficiently. If air cannot circulate, the unit could build up heat and require service.

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At what temperature should I set my thermostat?

Temperature settings depend on the time of year and your personal preferences. In the winter 68° to 72° is generally the setting range that most people prefer. Remember, when leaving your house, try to avoid drastic temperature changes. Do not set your temperature back more than 5°; this will cause your unit to work harder to achieve the desired temperature setting. This is particularly important if your home is heated by a heat pump system.

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What are the advantages of a programmable thermostat?

Because they are electronic, programmable thermostats are more accurate and efficient than thermostats that contain mercury. Plus, they allow you to automatically control the temperature in your home at different times of day without ever touching your thermostat.

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How often should I change the filter in my heater?

In general, Carney PHC recommends that you replace your disposable filters at once a month. If you have washable filters, they should be cleaned once a month. However, some homes may require more frequent filter changes due to conditions within the home.

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Why do I need to change my filter regularly?

Regular filter replacement helps your heating and cooling system operate at peak levels and improves indoor air quality. It is important to change filters regularly to ensure proper air flow and to keep your home free from dust, allergens and germs.

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Where is my filter located?

Your air filter should be located in either the blower compartment of the furnace, in an attached filter case, or in a return air grille in a wall or ceiling of your home. If you cannot find the air filter, your Carney PHC technician will be happy to show you where it is located and how to change it during your next maintenance visit.

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Is the filter used during heating season the same one that is used during air conditioning season?

In most cases, yes. If you have one system that provides both heating and air conditioning, then more than likely they share the same filter.

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Where can I purchase filters?

If you are unable to find the appropriate-size air filter at your local hardware outlet, contact Carney PHC for assistance.

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I thought pollution was outside. Why should I be worried about my air indoors?

We spend 90% of our time every day indoors. Plus, today's efficient, airtight homes are excellent at conserving energy, but that also makes them better at trapping potentially irritating particles inside the home. With the rising number of people who suffer from allergies and asthma, indoor air quality has become more and more important to our general health and well-being. The Environmental Protection Agency has stated that indoor air can be 4 to 5 times more harmful than outdoor air.

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I keep my home very clean. Could the air in my home still not be clean?

Yes. Consider that the average home generates 40 pounds of dust per year for every 1,500 square feet of space. While regular home cleaning is an excellent measure to reduce exposure to irritants and pollutants, it's simply impossible to remove enough of the material by hand to make your home's air as comfortable as it can be. In addition, certain irritants and sources of indoor air pollution cannot be cleaned by hand.

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What can be done to help make my home's air cleaner?

You might want to consider having your ducts cleaned. Keep your filters clean and change them regularly. Install a High Efficiency air filtration system that works in conjunction with your HVAC system. For more on Indoor Air Quality Solutions, please click here to visit our Indoor Air Quality page.

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How does a whole-home air cleaner work as part of my system?

Whole Home Air Cleaners are designed to perfectly fit as a component of your total home comfort system. Unlike many air cleaners that are situated in a single room of the house, Whole Home Air Cleaners are installed and operated through the same duct work that your furnace or air conditioner might use. It operates out of sight of most living spaces to provide up to 99.98% cleaner air throughout your entire home.

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What is the ideal indoor humidity level?

The American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) recommends a household humidity level between 30 and 60 percent.

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How do I know whether my heating and cooling equipment needs replacement or just repair?

This is a difficult question to provide a “blanket” answer for. As an analogy, it is a similar process of considerations that a car owner must consider when deciding whether to replace a vehicle or not.



  • The age of the current system. Our philosophy is that if the current heating system is 15 years old or older, replacement should be seriously considered.

  • What is the history of the heater? Has it required frequent repairs throughout its lifespan? Is it noisy? Does it show signs of excessive wear (rust)? Has it been well maintained by an HVAC company on an annual basis?

  • Are there any current rebates or tax credits available towards the purchase of a new high efficiency heating system that will help offset the initial investment?

  • Does the current system provide the level of comfort that you want? There is a growing difference between “builder grade” and consumer choice in what a system can offer in terms of comfort and convenience.

  • How much will the repairs cost…and how many more repairs will you need in the future? Is keeping an older system operational worth the time, the money and the inconvenience? Often, replacing an old heater will prove to be the less expensive option than paying for repeated repairs.


Erie Insurance Co. Provides the Following Advice:


“The general rule of thumb is if your furnace is over 10 years old and needs $600 or more in repairs, you probably want to replace it. However, if it is in good working condition, you probably want to live with it for awhile longer unless you have a large house, lots of windows, high heating bills or a combination of all three.”

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It’s been a long time since I shopped for a new heating system – or – I’ve never purchased a new heating system before. What is available to me as a consumer?

If you’re deciding on a new system and have not kept up with advances in the industry, you will be amazed at the number of options that you have. Today’s comfort systems offer a surprising number of options and combinations – from individual heaters and air conditioners to integrated or “hybrid” systems. Systems can vary widely in terms of energy efficiency. The ability of systems to monitor conditions and adjust automatically has increased dramatically. And a wider variety of indoor air quality add-ons are available than ever before.


These changes make the replacement decision even more complex than ever, so you can see how important it is to find a HVAC company that will work with you to custom design a system for your home and budget. At Carney, our goal is to be a company that will partner with you to not only install a system that is appropriate for your situation, but then help you keep the system operating at peak performance.

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Are some heating manufacturers or brands better than others?

Yes, we believe so. That’s why we only recommend the most reliable heating systems on the market. However, the manufacturer or brand is only one part of a high performance and reliable heating system – the heating system design and the quality workmanship that are utilized are crucial to having a long lasting, reliable and trouble free heating system that reduces your energy bills.

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What should I look for when choosing a new heater or heat pump?

Here are some general rules of thumb when you are ready to replace your existing equipment:



  • Choose a manufacturer that has a good reputation for quality and durability.
  • Choose a model with a high energy efficiency rating to bring you better comfort and lower your seasonal energy bill.
  • Be sure that the system you have chosen has been properly sized for the unique needs of your home.
  • Finally, choose a reliable company with excellent customer satisfaction and a track record of service after the sale. Talk to your friends and neighbors.

Back To Top

How much does a new heating system cost?

Due to the many different makes, models and customer needs, as well as installation variables within the home, price is an issue that can only be solved by doing a thorough evaluation of your home and existing equipment. At Carney, there is no charge for an in-house replacement proposal.

Back To Top

What do I do if I can’t afford a new HVAC system?

Carney offers several financing options. Your Carney Comfort Specialist can recommend a financing plan that best suits your needs.

Back To Top

If I purchase a new heating and air conditioning system, will I be eligible for the Federal Tax Credit?

Carney PHC installs heating and air conditioning systems that qualify for the Federal Tax Credit every day. Once the installation is complete, homeowners are provided with all certifications and documents showing proof of installation of a qualifying system. For clarification, the Federal Tax Credit for high efficiency central heating and air conditioning systems is 30% of the installed cost, with a maximum credit of $1,500. This is not a tax deduction – but rather a full, dollar for dollar credit.
Your individual eligibility can only be determined by your tax preparer – consult your tax preparer before making any final decisions on heating or air conditioning replacement if you plan to take advantage of the tax credit.

Back To Top

If I am replacing my heater, why would I replace my current heater with a smaller or larger one?

You may or may not replace your current heating system with a larger or smaller one. The size or capacity of your new heater will be determined and recommended by your Carney Comfort Specialist. The only accurate way to determine the proper sized heater for your home is to perform a load calculation to determine the heating needs for your home on the coldest days of the year. It is common to find existing heating systems that are oversized for the home. This results in decreased comfort, increased energy usage, increased equipment failure and shortened life span of the heater.

Back To Top

Should I purchase an extended warranty with my new heating system?

This is up to the individual consumer, but we highly recommend that homeowners at purchase an extended warranty coverage plan. Why? Most manufacturers are now offering 10 year parts warranties on heating and air conditioning systems. What is not covered is the labor charges to replace the warranty parts. For example, if a compressor on a system purchased in 2010 was in need of replacement in 2019, the compressor would be covered under warranty. However, the labor to replace the compressor would not be covered. In this example, the extended warranty purchased in 2010 would have cost less than the labor to replace the compressor in 2019. Your Carney Comfort Advisor can discuss further benefits of an extended warranty plan with you.

Back To Top

My heater is making noises that I never heard before.

Check the air filter to make sure it is clean. If needed, clean or replace it.
Check to make sure that the area around the heater is free from debris and clutter.
Check the service records for the heater. If a precision tune-up has not been performed on the heater within the last year, call Carney for a precision tune-up on your heater.

Back To Top

How often should I have my heater serviced by an HVAC company?

Manufacturer’s recommend that the heating and air conditioning system in a central heating and cooling system are each serviced once a year. If your heating system has not had a precision tune up, call Carney today.

Back To Top

Why are precision tune-ups important?

In one year in Bucks and Montgomery Counties in Pennsylvania, your heating and cooling units can run for as many 2,000 hours. When you neglect them, you pay a hefty price in wasted fuel, shortened equipment life and inconvenient and expensive breakdowns. Having your equipment regularly tuned-up, results in fewer service problems, lower energy bills, a safer system and warranties that are kept valid.

Back To Top

What does a Carney Maintenance Agreement provide?

Carney Maintenance Agreements provide annual or semi-annual precision tune ups, priority “front of the line” service, 10% discounts on all repairs, access to 24/7 repair services, special offers on Indoor Air Quality products and services, 10% discounts on all plumbing repairs, extended repair warranties and much more.

Back To Top

What is “front of the line” service that Carney Maintenance Agreement customers receive?

It’s simple really. In extreme weather, we are overwhelmed with “no heat” and “no air conditioning” calls. Many homeowners need our services. If you are a Carney Maintenance Agreement customer and you call with a “no heat” or “no air conditioning” emergency, you get bumped to the front of the line for service. It’s like walking into a crowded restaurant with a filled seating area, requesting the next open table – and getting it!

Back To Top